Writer's Corner

#Writing: Five things I learnt while working on my first book

Before I started writing, I imagined it would be like it’s shown in the movies- a classy affair at a picturesque lake/ beach facing home with chirpy birds, colourful butterflies, a gentle breeze and mellow sunshine for company. 

And I would be a picture of elegance in a chic dress, smiling warmly at family and friends while crafting beautiful paragraphs with great ease.

Reality bites

Real life was, well, very different from what I had imagined. I found myself in a cramped corner at home, facing a blank wall, dressed in a faded night suit. But, I was undeterred by the lack of glamour and with no beach/ lake in sight, I began typing furiously on the computer only to end up with a surprising number of typos. I scowled at them, trying my best to ignore the oppressive heat and the assorted noise from raucous crows, shrill tv ads and persistent doorbells.

So I deleted everything and sat staring at the blank screen, seemingly frozen in time. Until my family members, bemused by my behavior, interrupted me- they needed help to locate missing socks, salty snacks etc etc and could not wait any longer. Neither could the daily chores nor the questions from friends who wanted regular updates on my progress (close to none). 

Slow and unsteady 

Every day seemed to begin and end like this, with just a couple of sentences to show by the end of the week. At this rate, I would need, oh let’s see, only a few gazillion years to finish the book. 

No wonder then, I questioned my grasp of the topic, language in particular and finally, everything I knew about the world. Grammar appeared alien and so did the concept of writing. Since the existence of aliens is apparently confirmed now, maybe I had a better chance of meeting them, than running into a perfectly constructed sentence? That would give me something to write about, I consoled myself.

Picking up the pace

However after a couple of weeks or was it months, I realised it was the dreaded writer’s block which was err, blocking me and I stopped blaming the external factors. When it ended, it was as if a fog had lifted (taking with it the gaggle of geese and their sundry feathered friends) and the words started coming a bit easier.  

I guess it was not the place or distractions which mattered but a creative state of mind which can hopefully, be achieved without scenic beauty or colourful flora / fauna. Even while wearing mismatched socks.

Navigating the curve

It was certainly a steep learning curve but one I needed to navigate to reach the finishing line. So, what did I learn while writing my book?

  • Read a lot. Then write keeping the reader in mind.
  • It can be daunting but keep writing even if it’s just one sentence a day.
  • Don’t be too harsh on yourself and don’t give up. Good days are sometimes just around the corner.
  • The importance of editing cannot be stated enough- edit, edit and then edit some more. 
  • Finally, write what you are passionate about. That will give you the drive to continue against all odds and help you to put in your best effort.

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